For much of "On the Record," a five-part video series that took two years and more than 30 hours of interviews to complete, the good folks at Metal Injection examine the last decade, focusing on such topics as major band reunions and the proliferation of subgenres. With the final installment, posted last week, the filmmakers turn to "The Future of Metal," asking a number of experts to predict where the industry is heading, both in terms of art and commerce.

"There's always that curveball you never see coming," says Al Dawson of Earache Records, referring to how the next round of popular bands might alter the sonic landscape.

At the moment, says Vince Neilstein of Metal Sucks, groups are focusing on technical musicianship, something the simplistic nu-metal groups weren't doing a decade ago.

"Whether that will last forever, who knows, but it definitely seems like it's here to stay for a while," he says.

While some of the insiders interviewed foresee a rise of DIY, gimmick-free bands, others think metal needs something sensational. Either way, Jason Lekberg of Epic Records points out, evolution has always been a part of metal, and the only certainty is that artists will continue to take the music in new directions.

"If anything, what we've seen from the beginning of metal until now is that it's a genre that doesn't die," he says. "It's one of the few genres out there you can say it's exciting because it keeps growing."

Later, the experts weigh in on the decline of CDs and changing role of record companies. According to George Vallee of Century Media, the dream of young bands is no longer to ink deals with major labels and let them handle the business side of things.

"Now, I think you can do everything without getting signed," he says. "You can do everything on your own if you have the right mindset and know-how."

Regardless of what the next decade brings -- a wave of pop-metal played by Asian youngsters or a new medium that finds labels implanting music into our heads via microchip -- the key, says Ash Avildsen of Sumerian Records, will always be the music.

"A band will only be as good as their songs in the long run," he says.